Better late than never, state legislatures are now moving to review proposed mergers to determine the mergers’ effects on health care spending, access, and quality. (Image: Chris Nicholls)

More states are taking an active role in addressing the factors that can artificially skew the cost and effectiveness of employee benefits packages.

As legislators and regulators educate themselves on health care’s Byzantine financial structure, they are moving on from more general (and unenforceable) “goals” such as setting ceilings for overall health care cost growth. Initially, state legislatures tended to prioritize measures designed to increase access to insurance and medical care for individuals. Now, more are homing in on such matters as anti-competitive practices, pharmaceutical costs, merger review, and surprise billings that would directly benefit employer plan sponsors.